Monday, October 25, 2010

And they lived lonely women, for all eternity.

I don't like Jane Austen. And I've read 4 1/2 of her novels, and only liked one (see below), so I have a right to this opinion. Perhaps I'm lacking in proper breeding, or intelligence, or a heart. Whatever the reason, I don't like her.

And I feel the same for the movies made about her books or about her. Do modern-day women have no better use of their time than to use it swooning over men in ruffles who fall in love with women who aren't even lovable? And, according to Jane Austen, in order to make a truly great story:
  1. If anything drastic is to happen in the plot, it must be raining.
  2. The most honorable, respectable, and noble men must have very, very wicked relatives.
  3. An annoying woman who talks too much is necessary to say uncomfortable things at awkward moments.
  4. Some sort of secret about the hero must be revealed that threatens the heroine's happiness with him!
  5. But all will be cleared up in the end so that the hero comes out even more heroic than before.
  6. The heroine has no wealth, and this is a great conundrum as to whether the hero can love her anyway. Which he either does, or doesn't and therefore is not the hero and the hero swoops in gallantly at the end and the heroine realizes she's loved him all along.
However, I have to confess that I have been watching - and reading - a lot of Jane Austen recently. Yes, I know. I have nothing better to do with my time than swoon over men in ruffles who fall in love with women who aren't even lovable. And I have been doing a lot of swooning, especially over this ruffled man:
Here Mr. Tilney is saying, "I am sarcastic and mocking, but also capable of great emotion and passion. Love me."
I like Northanger Abbey so much because it's funny. The whole novel is basically poking fun at itself. And if any other man had played Mr. Tilney in the movie, I don't know if I would enjoy it so much. I say "enjoy" because watching the movie is an ongoing process for me. Like a remote-control all-you-can-eat buffet of witticisms.

There are great dangers in watching/reading too much Jane Austen, I've discovered. One (and by "one," I mean single females, like me) will begin to expect reality to follow the rules of Jane Austen, instead of the rules of, well, reality. According to Jane Austen, in my life I should expect:
  1. A man, possibly up to 20 years older than me, will ride 50 miles on horseback to confess his undying love for me even while having no idea if I return his affections.
  2. If I have curls around my face and am seen by candlelight, men will love me without knowing anything about my personality.
  3. Poetic thoughts will be narrated in a British accent while I look at the landscape and heavily sigh. "Life will never be the same, but hopefully my heart will mend. Oh, will I ever see Philip again?" ("Philip" being the name of the argyle sock I can't find. Its mate, Rosalind, is lonely, and my feet are cold.)
I need to stop watching these things because I'm beginning to think like this, and this is bad. If only I had a rich relative or relation to take me under his or her wing to some foreign place for a few months so I could be introduced to good and bad people that will alter my life and fortunes forever.....Is that too much to ask?


Irene said...

1. Older men will come after you on horseback. It happens to me all the time.
2. Why do you think I carry a candle around everywhere I go?
3. Deep sighs, stark landscapes, and poetic thoughts are inextricably interrelated. Plus my socks always come out of hiding when I speak in a British accent.
In sum, you need to stop being so cynical.

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